At AIMPLAS, Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico de España, on the occasion of its participation in the European project InnOREX, it has been possible to develop an innovative process to obtain PLA filament that significantly improves its mechanical properties, thus allowing its use in the manufacture of injected containers replacing polypropylene. As mentioned, the real novelty lies in the use of a new extruder as a reactor to produce polylactic acid, PLA, from lactide.
Thanks to the use of this new technology, we could dispense with metallic catalysts and directly use alternative energies to improve the kinetics of the reaction. All this, according to the enormous amount of studies carried out on how the final properties of the biopolymer are modified, has resulted in the creation of a more flexible PLA filament and up to 200% stronger to the impact than that used in a conventional way.
AIMPLAS surprises us with the presentation of a new PLA filament ideal for the manufacture of food packaging.
This development has been achieved after many months of research, in which it has sought to synthesize a new environmentally friendly organic catalyst in order to catalyze the polymerization of lactide, achieving a robust process of high conversions to obtain a PLA of high molecular weight and good polydispersity of high optical purity.
As you are surely thinking, among the advantages that we find in the use of this new filament, highlight, for example, the removal of metal particles in the process, which will directly lead to an environmental improvement as well as greater safety for workers. On the other hand, this new material, thanks to the improvement in its properties, can be used in the manufacture by injection and thermoforming of food packaging replacing polypropylene. Thanks to this, the consumption of conventional plastic will be reduced, favoring the use of biodegradable sources.